It’s either time for the fantasy football playoffs or crunch time in the final four weeks of your league. Bye weeks are over, which means it’ll be extra important to nail sleepers that could be hovering your waiver wire.
Each week, we’ll highlight diamonds in the rough or some players that just need to be rostered in more leagues on the defensive side of the ball. Keep in mind your scoring system and roster restraints when heading to the waiver wire to grab these IDPs.
DE Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles
Before last week, Graham was an underachieving DE that had been dropped in most formats. After three sacks and four solo tackles last week, he needs to be owned everywhere. The 34-year-old is up to 8.5 sacks on the year and will be hungry down the stretch for more.
EDGE Azeez Ojulari, New York Giants
The 2021 second-round pick has stepped up when called upon the last two weeks but primarily plays linebacker, so check your league’s eligibility rules. He has a sack in each game, and in Week 14, he had two sacks and four tackles. He’s more of a deeper-league option, because he’s still a relative unknown, but he could wind up being a difference maker if this stretch is for real.
LB Jaelan Phillips, Miami Dolphins
Phillips is emerging into a Pro Bowl-caliber EDGE rusher, and if he has DE eligibility in your league, that’s even better. The weakside linebacker has at least a half-sack in three straight games. Over that stretch, he has 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He’s worthy of a depth spot in most leagues and has higher precedent in leagues that value sacks more.
LB Kaden Elliss, New Orleans Saints
He’s coming off a bye week and will be available in a lot of leagues. What did he do before the bye? He had 40 tackles and 2.5 sacks in four games. He’s a seventh-round pick from Idaho in 2021 and doesn’t carry a lot of name value. If you see his name out there, snag him.
FS Juan Thornhill, Kansas City Chiefs
Thornhill picked the right time to play his best ball, and fantasy owners should take notice. He had 10 tackles two weeks ago and followed it up with seven tackles and a sack last week. He’s on a team that opponents have to throw often against, and he’s a ripe pickup for the stretch run.
S Andrew Wingard, Jacksonville Jaguars
Every season, it feels like this guy has a stretch later in the year that behooves us to feature him in this article for pickup. Now is that time with 16 tackles and an INT over the last two weeks. He has only 31 tackles on the year, but he’s capable of being an eight-tackle player given the playing time.